Author: iercan

Bianet: We asked SPoD about the bans against the LGBTIs: The bans restrict the growth of the LGBTI+ movement

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Source: “We asked SPoD about the bans against the LGBTIs: The bans are against the growth of LGBTI+ movement” (“LGBTİ Yasaklarını SPoD’a Sorduk: Yasaklar, LGBTİ+ Hareketinin Büyümesine Karşı”), Çiçek Tahaoğlu, bianet.org, December 5, 2017, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/192163-lgbti-yasaklarini-spod-a-sorduk-yasaklar-lgbti-hareketinin-buyumesine-karsi

Serdar Ocaksönmez, Communications Coordinator for Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD), has evaluated the new restrictions imposed on LGBTI activities following the ban in Ankara for bianet.

Ocaksönmez suggests that these bans are not just against film screenings but aim to criminalize LGBTI individuals and the LGBTI+ movement. SPoD are concerned by the increasing constraints.

Ocaksönmez invites all civil rights defenders to show up in solidarity, saying “we feel frightened these groups are targeting us and spreading hate speech”.

“The ban criminalizes our existence”

What is your opinion on the indefinite ban in Ankara?

The ban in Ankara is not only against a film screening. Due to its scope, the ban restricts all means of public engagement and mobility. The notions of “social sensitivity” and “morality” defined in the decision are highly concerning; we cannot allow the existence of LGBTI+ individuals and their identities to be criminalized under the pretenses of “social sensitivity” and “morality”. If we think about the consequences of these actions long term, the existence of LGBTI+ associations presently active in Ankara may be directly affected and harmed by this decision. Considering that Ankara is the capital, I see this as a strategic decision.

 

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“Censorship in other cities is no coincidence”

Can you observe the influence of this ban in other cities?

The ban affects different populations in different cities. An event in Mardin, planned before the ban in Ankara was declared, was cancelled after it was targeted by the hate speech. In Bursa, another event was forcibly cancelled by the police. Lastly, LGBTI+ film screening in İstanbul was banned by the District Governorship of Istanbul. We cannot assume that these are separate or purely coincidental cases.

“We feel threatened”

Did the bans have an affect on SPoD’s work?

Even though they haven’t affected us directly, there is the definite possibility [bans] will spread all around the country–especially in Istanbul. Bans have had a psychological impact on all of us in the LGBTI+ movement. We are concerned there will be further bans on the activities we are organizing or the ones we will organize. Aside from this, we feel threatened by the existence of those groups targeting us with hate speech.

“We will keep following the trial”

Did you receive any applications, questions etc. from the local organizations and activists regarding this ban or other bans in different cities?

We are in close contact with the organizations in Ankara. We are following the lawsuit filed by Kaos GL and Pink Life after the ban, demanding the halt of execution. We are trying to gather as much information as we can regarding other bans and interventions.

“The bans are a reaction against the growth of LGBTI+ movement”

Do you think the ban in Ankara can spread to the other cities?

Frankly, we weren’t expecting such a ban. There have been individual bans which cited  “security” concerns over the last three years such as the ban against LGBTI+ and Trans Pride Walks in İstanbul and the May 17 events in Ankara. But this last ban is indefinite and we therefore feel it  targets us personally. We are facing a very different kind of violence when the existence of groups of people, our ways of life, and the right to peaceful assembly are targeted here. When we look at the last three years in their entirety, this looks like a reaction against the growth of the LGBTI+ movement.

“We invite all rights defenders to show solidarity”

Do you have any plans, strategies or calls regarding the ban attempts?

Right now, we as SPoD are acting in coordination with other LGBTI+ associations and platforms. We are following the lawsuits filed by Kaos GL and Pink Life Associations in Ankra and we are hope to see the ban lifted as soon as possible so that we can continue with our activities.

We request the authorities adhere to Article 10 of the Turkish Constitution as well as with international conventions, including the Istanbul Convention, to which Turkey is a party. We want the authorities to correct this mistake immediately. We believe that we will overcome these bans through advocating solidarity, like we did when Lambdaistanbul was sought to be closed. We invite not only LGBTI+ organizations but all civil rights defenders to be present in a show of solidarity.

 

Kaos GL: LGBTI+ rights in days of ban

We compiled what has happened before and after the Governorship of Ankara’s “indefinite” LGBTI+ ban, the rights violations and reactions against the ban.

Source: “Yasaklı günlerde LGBTİ+ hakları,” Kaos GL, Dec. 4, 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25036

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Over the past fifteen days,  the Governorship of Ankara banned LGBTI+ activities in the city on the premises of “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public security”, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others’ rights and liberties”.

During this period, the District Governorship of Beyoğlu has banned another scheduled event. We have reports of censorship of LGBTI+ activities coming in from many other cities.

We compiled the details of events that have transpired before and after the ban decision regarding the violation of our rights alongside reactions against the ban for readers of KaosGL.org:

“Gender Based Journalism Workshop” was Disrupted in Mardin

The “Gender Based Journalism Workshop”,  undertaken by IPS Communication Foundation and supported by Kaos GL, was planned for November 18, but could not take place in Mardin as it was targeted in the media.

On November 9, an event in Mardin was postponed after it was announced to the media in a piece titled “Mardinites: We don’t want these immoral people!”  Later editorials targeted the workshop and were published on Sabah’s website as well as on Güneş, HaberVaktim, Yeni Akit daily, and in other local media.

Hate speech was propagated on social media. Posts were made stating that there will be “gays marching in Mardin” on November 18 and that “we will stand against this situation and kill [them] if necessary”.

Governorship of Ankara and the German LGBTI Film Days Festival

In collaboration with the German Embassy, QueerFest and Büyülü Fener Cinemas, The German LGBTI Film Days festival was scheduled to take place in Ankara between November 16-17. These events were unfortunately canceled as they were banned by an official notice sent to Büyülü Fener Cinema by the Governorship of Ankara on Wednesday, November 15.

The day before the decision to ban was issued by  the governorship, Yeni Akit daily published an editorial defaming the event. In a news article titled “Support for the Perverts by the German Embassy”, Yeni Akit stated that the event was “supported by Germany which has participated in every activity meant to disrupt the country’s peace and will feature perverted films within the scope of the events [which are] to take place for two days”. The same newspaper announced the ban decision of the Governorship with the title “Governorship Slams the Brakes on Perverts”.

Prior to the governorship’s decision, hate speech was disseminated on social media with hashtags #LGBTfilmgünleriiptaledilsin (#LGBTfilmdaysshouldbecancelled) and #İstiklalimizeKaraLeke (#BlackStainOnOurIndependence)

Following the decision, the Pink Life QueerFest organizing committee issued a statement  indicating that, just like the arbitrary and unlawful ban against Pride Walk which took place over the past several years, the film screenings were banned using the same public security rhetoric and was only used to raise alarm over provocation and terror.  The Pink Life committee warned that this decision legitimized hate speech against LGBTI individuals and cast them as a threat to society.  Producers of QueerFest also stated that the decision deprives us of our constitutional rights under the disguise of “protecting” LGBTI individuals and continued: “The duty of the governorship is not to ban the marches or activities but to make sure that they take place in safety.”

Following the ban against the German LGBTI Film Days, the German Minister of State Michael Roth announced via his Twitter account that a rainbow flag was hung at the German Embassy. Roth wrote “The Governorship of Ankara banned the #LGTBI Film festival of our Embassy. The freedom of arts and minority rights are untouchable. This must be valid for Turkey too. Our colleagues in Ankara manifest their attitude clearly by unfurling the flag”.

After the governorship ban against the German LGBT Film Days festival, Hacettepe University subsequently banned a discussion titled “Gender and Discrimination” which had previously been approved.

The discussion planned for November 22, which was to be attended by Kaos GL as well, was banned with a verbal notice, even though there was official university approval 15 days prior.

The indefinite “public morality” ban from Governorship of Ankara

After the ban against the German LGBTI Film Days, which was scheduled to take place on November 16-17 in Ankara Büyülü Fener Cinema, the Governorship of Ankara announced on its website  the event has indefinitely banned “the activities undertaken by LGBTI civil society organizations” in Ankara. The statement lists banned activities as:  “film screenings, cinevision, theatre, panels, discussions, exhibitions etc. [and] activities”.

The governorship listed “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public securities, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others’ rights and liberties” as the reason for the ban.

Kaos GL and Pink Life : “The Ban is Arbitrary and Discriminatory”

In response to the Governorship of Ankara’s decision to ban,  Kaos GL and Pink Life have released a collective statement which announced that the governorship’s ban is unlawful, discriminatory and arbitrary and that a legal follow-up is in place.

Pink Life and Kaos GL indicated that the scope of the decision was vast and that it led to an ambiguous situation which ostensibly criminalizes LGBTI existence, opening  the door for further rights violations. They announced that the LGBTI civil society organizations have been fighting against discrimination and hatred as well as for equal citizenship for years and that this decision has rendered these associations inoperative.

In their statement, Pink Life and Kaos GL emphasized to the public these discriminatory policies are unacceptable as they are against Article 10 of the Constitution on equality in addition to Article 26 on freedom of expression and publication. Pink Life and Kaos GL also note these bans are in conflict with international conventions to which Turkey is a signatory.

LGBTI Associations of Ankara Take the Decision to Court

Kaos GL and Pink Life, LGBTI associations from Ankara have filed a lawsuit against the ban, demanding the ban be cancelled and its execution halted.  

The organizations call for the ban ordered by the Governorship on the premises of “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public security”, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others” rights and liberties to be cancelled and its enforcement be halted immediately as the ban can result in irremediable consequences.

Media Targeting LGBTI People and Hate Speech

LGBTI individuals and organizations were targeted in print press and digital media before and after the ban decision. Many media outlets, especially Yeni Akit daily, labelled the LGBTI individuals as “perverts”, “degenerates”, “against the public morality”. The hate speech was spread through libellous claims that LGBTI people are “diseases” or “criminal”.

Among these articles is a piece on Takvim daily’s website, titled “LGBTI Provocation Supported by CHP and HDP under the Control of Global Powers”, published November 14 . The article is an example of the press constructing a narrative of hate speech which is used to incite public discrimination of LGBTI persons as well as unlawful infringement on our rights.

Kaos GL is soon to publish its annual report which has tracked the use of discriminatory language and hate speech against LGBTI people in media on a daily basis coupled with reflections on the ban and the legal way forward.

Arbitrary Ban in Bursa

As part of the programing for events surrounding November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance, Bursa Özgür Renkler of LGBTI Association (Free Colors LGBTI Association) was pressured to cancel the screening of the film “Gacı Gibi” via  notification by police to event organizers that “the event will be shut down if it is not cancelled”.

Özgür Renkler LGBTI shared the cancellation on its social media accounts and wrote: “Our attorney got in touch with the Directorate of Security and was redirected to the security branch but received no answer at that office. We are yet to receive a written notification regarding the issue. We announce that we have cancelled the event and that we will be following [the process] as the association.”

District Governorship of Beyoğlu’s Ban Decision

“Queer Shorts” — a film screening and discussion panel planned to take place in Istanbul on November 25 in collaboration with Pink Life QueerFest, British Council and Pera Museum was banned by the District Governorship of Beyoğlu.

In a similar manner to the Governorship of Ankara, the district governorship in Beyoğlu indicated “[the event] might cause open and immediate danger against the public order and safety and might be against the constitutional order and public morality”.

Reactions against the Ban: #LGBTİYasaklanamaz (#LGBTICantBeBanned)

Keyfî yasaklara karşı kurulan LGBTİ+ Yasaklarını Geri Çekin Platformu, 29 Kasım’da #LGBTİYasaklanamaz ve 3 Aralık’ta #LGBTİFilmleriYasaklanamaz hashtagleri ile yasaklara karşı ses çıkardı. Her iki hastag kampanyası da Twitter’ın Türkiye gündeminde yer aldı. Çok sayıda sosyal medya kullanıcısı yasaklara karşı dayanışma mesajları paylaştı.

LGBTİ+ Yasaklarını Geri Çekin Platformu  (Withdraw the LGBTI+ Bans Platform) was created as a reaction to these unjust bans and  online advocates have protested the ban through the hashtag #LGBTIYasaklanamaz (#LGBTICantBeBanned) on November 29 and the hashtag #LGBTİFilmleriYasaklanamaz  (#LGBTIFilmsCantBeBanned) on December 3. Both hashtag campaigns were trending topics in Turkey on Twitter. Many social media users across the world shared solidarity messages with us against the bans.

A part of the statement of the platform is as the following: “We invite the national and international public to make some noise to end this nonsense. We demand decisions that restrict our liberties and take away our life spaces to be overturned immediately! We invite the authorities to bring life back to its normal flow.”

Film Screenings at METU

Aside from the lawsuits filed by Kaos GL and Pink Life associations, many LGBTI and human rights activists have reacted against the ban.

After the ban took effect, METU LGBTI+ Solidarity organized two film screenings for November 22 and November 24, to  the films “Pride” and “Romeos”. University administrators sought to prevent the LGBTI themed films by being screened by shutting down the power.

METU LGBTI+ Solidarity discussed the tensions which surrounded the screenings on both November 22 and November 24 through statements published on social media.

“The film screening planned for November 22 by Nar Women’s Solidarity was interfered with by the METU administration, by shutting down the power. The administration then retreated upon the reactions of the students and the film was screened.”

“On November 24, METI LGBTI+ Solidarity entered one of the physics classrooms in order to show the film “Romeos” which was on the schedule of the banned film screenings, after which METU administration shut down the power of the physics department. This caused GÜNAM (Solar Energy Research Center) to halt its studies, students were stuck in elevators and other students had to study for their midterms elsewhere.  In spite of all pressures and preventions, METU LGBTI+ Solidarity showed the film using a power source and a projector. This was followed by the METU administration sending a private security force of forty to the building, who did not refrain from threatening us with a ‘physical intervention’ “.

Altıok: The Decision is Discriminatory

In her press statement regarding Governorship of Ankara’s ban decision, CHP Vice Chair and İzmir MP Zeynep Altıok  stated that the decision is unlawful, misogynistic, and othering: “What discriminates and others the people is the decision of Governorship of Ankara which is polarizing the society, using diversity as an excuse.”

Ban Decision was Taken to Parliament

CHP Istanbul MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu has taken the governor’s ban decision to the parliament. Tanrıkulu presented a parliamentary question with the demand for a reply from PM Binali Yıldırım. The question asks whether the ban is discriminatory, whether the Governorship has a concrete document that can justify the ban, and whether the Governorship has taken necessary measures against discrimination.

Muiznieks:  Ban Clearly Disregards Turkey’s International Human Rights Obligations

Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks issued a statement regarding the ban, indicating that it blatantly disregards the international human rights obligations of Turkey, especially the European Human Rights Convention. Muizneieks wrote:  “I call on the Turkish central authorities to ensure that decentralised administrations uphold human rights standards and that this regrettable decision of the Ankara Governor’s Office is reversed immediately”.

Meanwhile, representatives of United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union have contacted the LGBTI associations and received information regarding the incident.

Call for Solidarity from Balkans

ERA LGBTI Equal Rights, founded by the LGBTI organizations of Western Balkans and Turkey, published a statement regarding the LGBTI+ bans in Turkey stating:  “[…] local authorities, have taken yet another concerning step, by banning events like film screenings, exhibitions, forums, panels and meetings by LGBTI+ groups on what could be considered illegal grounds, infringing on fundamental human rights such as freedom of assembly, expression and association. Authorities have also given reasons for banning these events such as “social sensitivities and sensibilities,” “protecting public health and morality” and “protecting other people’s rights and freedoms.”

“We Defend the Cancellation of the Decision”

Council of Europe Conference of INGOs published a statement regarding the indefinite ban against the LGBTI activities declared by Governorship of Ankara: “We call upon all authorities to rescind the ban on events by LGBTI organisations in Ankara and not to slide back into another dark age where people have to hide who they really are. We plead that they annul these decisions which might incite and legitimise aggression against LGBTI persons, who once felt free and proud in Turkey”.

Antep Laughs against the Ban

Antep ZeugMadi LGBTI organized a press conference on December 3 against the Governorship of Ankara’s indefinite ban against LGBTI activities. ZeugMadi condemned the unlawful and discriminatory ban and stated “We were banned in Ankara and we were reborn in Antep”.

Çanakkale LGBTI+: We are on the Streets Despite the Bans, we are cleaning the beaches!

The volunteers of Çanakkale LGBTİ+ Initiative came together at Barış Kordonu on December 2 and cleaned the trash on the beaches. The initiative made an open call saying: “We are on streets despite the ban, we’re cleaning the beaches”. The group did not leave the beach for four hours in spite of the weather.

 

Kaos GL: Kaos GL and Pink Life Take the Governorship Ban to Court

Kaos GL and Pink Life filed a lawsuit against the ban announced by Governorship of Ankara, demanding the court to cancel the ban and halt the execution.

Source: Kaos GL, “Kaos GL ve Pembe Hayat Valilik yasağına dava açtı” http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25014 November 29, 2017.

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Kaos GL and Pink Life, LGBTI associations in Ankara, have filed a lawsuit against the governorship’s decision to ban LGBTI events for an indefinite period of time, with two separate demands from the court to cancel the ban and halt the execution.

These groups demand the decision of the governorship, which cited concerns of “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public security”, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others’ rights and liberties” as reasons to ban LGBTI activities, be cancelled. Kaos GL and Pink Life call for immediate halt of the execution of the ban decision and warn the ban will have irremediable consequences.

The attorneys of both associations evaluated the decision and the lawsuits against the decision:

“It harms the associations with every passing moment”

Att. Emrah Şahin, Pink Life: The “indefinite ban” of the Governorship of Ankara against the LGBTI_LGBTT Associations’ activities is not only against the International Conventions and constitutional rights but also against the local legislation provisions upon which the premises of the decision are built. Therefore, as the injured party of this ban we filed a lawsuit at Ankara Administrative Court. The execution of the ban should immediately be halted so as the end this deliberate violation of rights and a cancellation should follow. The fact that the ban is for an indefinite period of time causes the associations active in this field material and moral damages with every passing moment. Beyoğlu District Governorship unfortunately followed Governorship of Ankara’s line of conduct. Although these consecutive bans lead one to think that these decisions are political, we would like to think that these decisions do not stem from the policies of the state but rather from the faulty perspectives of the individuals. Therefore we hope that our rightful case will be won through domestic law without applying to ECHR or other international institutions and/or that the administration immediately gives up on this misguided approach and lifts the ban.

“An attack against the freedom of speech and right to organize of the LGBTIs”

Att. Kerem Dikmen, Kaos GL Association: Although the governorship decision does not formally seem like it bans the activities of the associations working for LGBTI rights, the consequences of the decision essentially ban these activities in their entirety.  In short: the governorship is telling associations that they can remain open and that it does not concern their legal entity status, but that they should not step out of their buildings and should not reach out to people other than their members and activists. One can ask whether the governorship has the jurisdiction to make such a decision under the state of emergency conditions, but under current circumstances the governorship can not assume such authority. On the question if governorship can make these decisions, we respond it should not have such authority. Our cause for alarm stems from the way governorship has passed comprehensive bans on the activities of LGBTI associations such as cinevision, screenings, theatre plays, panels and discussions for an indefinite period of time. What indefinite means is that there is no deadline for the ban. Surely this is a deliberate attack against the rights of the LGBTI individuals to organize as well as their freedom to express themselves in an organized manner. When all activities of an association are banned, it is a de facto banning of the association–which subsequently voids the constitutional right to form associations. It is important to note: the Turkish constitution does not even permit parliament to abolish the right to form associations through legislation, let alone through the governorship.

“We would like to believe that this inconsistency will be eliminated through judiciary process”

We should also clarify, there are no legal categorizes for LGBTT or LGBTI associations in Turkish law. However, “LGBTT_LGBTI” associations are the subject for the new decision. While civil society can coin such terms or categories, serious concern is raised when these terms are used by the state. Additionally, there can be no discriminatory consequences for organizations or their members because the association is LGBTT or LGBTI. We need to think of discrimination that exists not only on individual level but also on communal level. When you ban the right of the LGBTI and LGBTT community associations to organize and form peaceful assemblies, it is a discriminatory decision that also negatively affects individuals. As a result, we find this decision to be inconsistent within the administrative framework of the state of emergency and of state policy. As such, we would like to see this inconsistency eliminated through the judiciary process as soon as possible.

If this is the purpose [of the practice], it will not help weaken the LGBTI movement in Turkey. The civil society movement has reached a wide audience and will not be conformed to discriminatory regulations which seek to reduce the visibility of LGBTI or LGBTT associations. The only consequence of these bans would be to strengthen the resolve and solidarity among the LGBTI individuals and communities.

 

Bianet: Sedef Çakmak is elected as the Chair of Rainbow Rose

LGBTI activist and Beşiktaş Alderwoman Sedef Çakmak is elected as Chair of the Executive Board of Rainbow Rose, the LGBTI network of Europe’s social democrat and socialist parties.

Source: “Sedef Çakmak is elected as the Chair of Rainbow Rose” (“Sedef Çakmak, Rainbow Rose Başkanı Seçildi”), bianet, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/191068-sedef-cakmak-rainbow-rose-baskani-secildi, October 30, 2017.

Rainbow Rose, a network comprised of the LGBTI platforms established within the European social democrat and socialist parties, had its general assembly in Stockholm, Sweden.

The assembly meeting was held between October 27-29, and LGBTI activists Elif Avcı of Şişli Municipality’s Equality Unit and Beşiktaş Alderwoman Sedef Çakmak participated in the assembly representing the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of Turkey.

Rainbow Rose has been fighting for LGBTI rights since 2006 as a part of PES (Party of European Socialists), of which CHP is also a member. Çakmak was elected as the Chair of the Executive Board of Rainbow Rose.

“Alliance with other LGBTI organizations strengthens us”

Speaking to Yıldız Tar of Kaos GL Çakmak stated:

“In these days when Turkey is getting more and more authoritarian and when different voices are sought to be silenced, we recognize how strengthening it is for people living in Turkey to be in solidarity with other LGBTI organizations around the world. Aside from this, LGBTI struggles for rights do not only produce policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity but also on refugees, union rights, gender equality, rule of law, areas which have an impact on all sectors of society. In today’s world where the global flow of information has accelerated, I believe it would be lacking to make policies detached from the rest of the world.”

“Both as a Turkish citizen and a local politician who is an LGBTI activist, I hope that the fact that I was chosen as the Chair of the Executive Board of Rainbow Rose will play a part in transcending the increasing bias against our country abroad due to the malpractices of the government which undermine democracy.”

Çakmak was a CHP candidate in the 2014 local elections and has been an alderwoman in Beşiktaş Municipality since then. Çakmak is the first openly homosexual politician in Turkey.

Pink Life goes to Hamburg!

Pink Life QueerFest selection to be screened at International Queer Film Festival in Hamburg. The 28th Hamburg International Queer Film Festival (aka LSF/ Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage) will take place between October 17-22, 2017. Germany’s largest and longest-running LGBT film festival celebrates its 28th year as a volunteer-based and independent organization, with its principles of “autonomy, equality, and self determination”.  Here is the invitation to the selection of films from Ankara-based Pink Life QueerFest to be featured:

“A selection of Turkish short films from Ankara’s Pink Life QueerFest: TRANSVESTITES is a pioneering mockumentary on the highly problematic representation of trans* sex workers in the media. PRINCE CHARMING, DON’T COME IN VAIN, a collective audiovisual claim to the existence of lesbians in Turkey. Experimental and fascinating, OVER TIME tells the stories of four workers. In CHILD’S PLAY Derin hides an adult secret in the toy-box filled with her childhood memories. The documentary LGBTI IN THE HOOD reflects the LGBTI community’s perspective on their neighbourhoods. MOIRA is a tribute to three LGBTI* activists who lost their lives in a traffic accident in September 2015. And in fragments of a roundtable: pink life discusses archiving the Pink Life team gathers around a not-so-round-table and discusses the archives of the QueerFest.”

For more info please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/315944492205182

Kaos GL: LGBTI billboards on the streets of Cyprus once more!

LGBTI awareness billboards are once more on the streets of North Cyprus after the attacks of last year!

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Source: Kaos GL, “Kıbrıs’ta bir kez daha LGBTİ billboardları sokakta!” http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=24490 September 1, 2017

The LGBTI awareness billboard campaign we launched last year in North Cyprus was attacked. Kuir Kıbrıs (Queer Cyprus) Association filled the streets once more this year with billboards for equality and freedom in spite of the attacks.

The new billboard campaign prepared within the scope of “Unspoken Project” (“Konuşulmayan Projesi”) was launched in order to call attention to the need for everyone to live as a human, without being othered or discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The billboards bear explanations of sexual orientation and gender identities such as “lesbian”, “gay”, “heterosexual”, “transsexual” and “intersex”.

Transformation of prejudices such as homophobia, biphobia, transphobia is among the objectives of the campaign.

Attacks against last year’s campaign

Last year in November,  billboards which read “Brother Kamil, I’m lesbian” and “Auntie Mediha, I’m gay” were placed around Girne, Mağusa, Lefkoşa, İskele, Lefke ve Karpaz. However, the LGBTI awareness billboards  in the cities in North Cyprus were first attacked and then taken down by the municipality.

What’s the Unspoken/Konuşulamayan Project?

“Unspoken: Creating Dialogue on LGBTI Rights in the Turkish Cypriot Community” (“Konuşulmayan: Kıbrıs Türk Toplumunda LGBTİ Haklarıyla İlgili Diyaloğu Güçlendirmek Projesi”) aims to increase awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people in key sectors such as media, education, law and health; in order to struggle against the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender, to create social change and [improve] public opinion and to ameliorate media representation in Turkish Cypriot communities.

Kuir Kıbrıs Association is a civil society movement conducting work struggling against discrimination agaınst sexuality, sexual expression, sexual orientation and gender identity. Kuir Kıbrıs actively works to support LGBTI rights in various fields such as law, education and psychology.

BIANET: Boğaziçi University Presidency Returns ‘Hande Kader’ Fellowship Donations

The Boğaziçi University LGBTI+ Studies Club had announced that they would grant a student [with the] Hande Kader Fellowship but the university presidency has said that the fellowship was not within their knowledge. The donations are being returned.

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Source: BIANET (ÇT/TK), http://bianet.org/english/lgbti/189274-hande-kader-fellowship-for-trans-students-at-bogazici-university, August 21, 2017

Following the statement by the Boğaziçi University LGBTI+ Studies Club (BÜLGBTI+) on the Hande Kader Fellowhsip, the Boğaziçi University Presidency has issued a statement saying that the donations were returned as of this moment.

Boğaziçi University Foundation (BÜVAK) and BÜLGBTI+ would grant the Hande Kader fellowship to a trans student this year.

A trans student at Boğaziçi University would receive 500 TL (125 Euros) of fellowship for 12 months as part of the Hande Kader Fellowship prepared through the cooperation of BÜVAK and BÜLGBTI+.

The fellowship would be formed through the donations that will be collected. The quota for the fellowship holders was planned to be increased and the 1-year fellowship was planned to be extended depending on the amount collected.

Boğaziçi Presidency: The donations are being returned

“[The] Fund and scholarship which have become the subject of reports in the media stating that a fellowship of 500 TL for 12 months to be provided by the ‘Hande Kader Fellowship’ to a trans Boğaziçi University student  as a result of the cooperation of BÜVAK and LGBTI+ Studies Club are not within the knowledge of BÜVAK and Boğaziçi University Presidency.

“There is no such a fund within the body of BÜVAK. For this reason, the donators and those who would like to donate shouldn’t be misinformed.

“The donations of the donators are being returned as of now”.

About Hande Kader

Hande Kader was born in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa in 1993. She was living in İstanbul and she was working as a sex worker.

She was last seen when she was getting in a customer’s car in August 2016. Her friends filed a missing person report with the Gayrettepe Security Directorate on August 4. On August 12, a body was found in Zekeriyaköy. It was determined that the body, which was burned from the waist down, was Hande Kader. Since the family didn’t want the body, Hande Kader was interred in an anonymous cemetery.

A year has passed since the murder. The investigation is still on-going and the perpetrators are yet to be caught. (ÇT/TK)